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and do something good, something really good for the country. ronald reagan understood this. bill clinton understood this. and president obama seemed to understand it too in december of 2010. so i'll say it again. the only way we succeed is if the president steps up and leaders. it starts by showing that he's serious about success. and let's be clear, an opening bid of $1.6 trillion in new taxes just isn't serious. it's more than simpson-bowles or any other bipartisan commission has called for. it's been unanimously rejected in the house and senate. it's twice as much as the white house seemed ready to agree to during last summer's debt ceiling talks. and looked at in the context of the spending cuts yet to be enacted from the president's other proposals, it amounts to about 20 cents in cuts for every new dollar in tax hikes. in other words, no cuts at all. it's a joke. a joke. look, people i talk to across kentucky, they don't want any more political fights. th*e'd like to -- they'd like to see us get somewhere. they want the two parties to work together to find a solution to our fiscal
-- ronald reagan as president -- worked together to make our tax code more logical, more equitable, and more efficient. ten years later, divided government produced a sweeping overhaul of our welfare system, under then-president bill clinton. conservative republicans joined with a democratic president to help millions of lower-income people break free of the cycle of dependency and despair. of course, we know we've had divided government. as i said earlier, we really had a status quo election in that sense. we've had divided government since january 2011 when republicans regained the majority in the house of representatives. the result over the last two years, sadly, it has produced legislative stalemates and bitter recriminations. why should anybody expect that things will be different going forward? i think, mr. president, what's different now from then is that republicans and democrats alike recognize we are at a crossroads, that our current fiscal path is unsustainable, and that we're either going to send the economy back into a recession -- unless we deal with the fiscal cliff and the s
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